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Health worker deaths mount as Ebola spreads

LAGOS, Nigeria--Nigeria's health minister will hold an emergency meeting of state health commissioners on Monday as West Africa struggles to halt the deadly Ebola virus, amid growing concern at the toll among healthcare workers.

Nigeria on Sunday confirmed a fresh case of Ebola in a doctor whose husband died from the virus, adding to a growing list of those providing healthcare in West Africa to be hit by the epidemic.

The woman's husband was also a doctor who died in the city of Port Harcourt on Aug. 22 after treating a patient who had contact with the Liberian man who brought the virus to Nigeria in late July.

She was in a stable condition at an isolation unit in the financial capital, Lagos, said Sampson Parker, the health commissioner of Rivers State, of which Port Harcourt is the capital.

Nigeria's medics have paid a heavy price in the outbreak: of the six people who have died from the disease in Africa's most populous nation, two have been doctors and two others nurses.

Another doctor and a pharmacist were put into isolation at a unit outside Port Harcourt, Parker said.

The Nigerian health officials meeting Monday are not the only ones in the region struggling with the problem of how to treat victims of the deadly virus while protecting those treating them.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has voiced concern about the “unprecedented” number of healthcare workers hit by the Ebola outbreak. More than 120 health workers have died and over 240 others infected so far.

The disease has killed a total of 1,552 people and infected 3,062 as of Aug. 26, according to WHO figures.

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